Opera Colorado Presents a New Opera with Libretto by Deborah Brevoort

December 13, 2016

Opera Colorado presents the world premiere Steal a Pencil for Me, a new opera with libretto by Deborah Brevoort (Faculty) and music by Gerald Cohen, as part of their 2017–2018 Season. The opera is based on the true story of Jaap Polak and Ina Soep Polak and tells the story of a romance that endures through the horror of World War II.
“I knew Jaap and Ina Polak for nearly 30 years as their cantor, and their dramatic and moving story is very close to my heart,” said composer Cohen. “My parents were WWII refugees, and for a long time I contemplated creating an opera set during the Holocaust. As Jaap and Ina opened up about their wartime experience, I realized they had an extraordinary story that needed to be told.”
Based on the Polaks’ book of the same name, the opera follows three people struggling to survive in a concentration camp: a man, the woman he loves, and his estranged wife. In spite of their dire circumstances, the two lovers communicate through secret, passionate letters written with stolen pencils.
“I’m excited to bring to life this remarkable, touching work that shows the power of love and the beauty of everyday humanity during trying times,” said Opera Colorado’s inaugural Music Director, Ari Pelto.
Brevoort is a playwright and librettist, whose operas include adaptations of Mozart’s The Impresario and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus as well as Embedded, with composer Patrick Soluri, and winner of the Frontiers competition at Ft. Worth Opera. Brevoort's other credits include The Women of Lockerbie, which won the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award and the silver medal in the Onassis International Playwriting Competition, The Poetry of Pizza, and The Blue-Sky Boys. She has received grants and commissions from the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, NYFA, CEC Arts Link, New Jersey Arts Council, Alaska State Council on the Arts, among others, and was a MacDowell Fellow and member of New Dramatists.

Steal a Pencil for Me comes to stage in January of 2018.